Report from Lennox: Kelly Slater and Leo Fioravanti run COVID-19 border lockdown, “You’d expect they would be setting an example as leaders,” says top cop.

"I can't help feeling a little frisson of excitement at Kelly sticking it to the man."

Richmond Police precinct encompasses many small towns and hamlets in sub-tropical NSW, including the surf destination of Lennox Head, where I reside.

With the sich here being one of open beaches and pumping surf a lot of interlopers have been keen to test the will of the local constabulary in terms of enforcing the Corona virus travel restrictions.

Sunday afternoon, the kind of glorious autumn afternoon with head-high point surf that surf cats dribble over, two of NSW’s finest approached me in the carpark.

“Where do you live?”

Luckily, I was able to point over the hill and reply “right there”.

That was a satisfactory answer for the boys in blue to allow an unmolested shred.

Others did not have their paperwork in order.

My pal Mark Purser, a yoga teacher from Byron Bay, had a threatening letter from the Richmond police on the windscreen.

Taylor Miller, surfer and daughter of legend Rusty Miller, likewise copped a warning. Her sister was verbally sent home without a go-out.

Fines were dished out, as well as the warning notices.

In the water, CT wildcarder and Italian super-stud Leo Fioravanti tried to put a little hustle on me.

With the police on my side (for once), I felt emboldened to resist the young stud’s advance and return the favour.

He also got the warning note on the windscreen.

“How the fuck are you making money with no comps?” I asked him later in the top carpark.

“Sponsors,” he said.

“So, no money from the WSL at all?”

“Well, they cashed us out for last place for Snapper because it was cancelled, but the rest of the Aussie leg is postponed, so no prizemoney.”

“Ah, so that’s why they postponed it… so they wouldn’t be liable for prizemonies.”

Ten grand for last place, in case you were wondering.

Not a bad earn for a cancelled contest.

Leo ain’t the only pro who’s been knifing it down here for a strike mission.

Kelly Slater showed up, presumably with some kind of paperwork to get back across the closed Queensland border. Got himself involved in a little discrepancy with one of the local grommets which was sorted out via social media, nothing to report there except an offer to share a surf session in Hawaii with one of the local gromesses.

I got the boss cop on the phone to explain the policing.

Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Lindsay is a no bullshit old-school D and very handy on the shred.

Definitely no VAL. He’s a man you want to have on your side.

He told me we were blessed to keep beaches open for our much needed physical and mental health.

Yes, I said, very much so.

It’s about limiting non-essential travel, he told me.

“Travelling from Coolangatta to Lennox head to chase better surf is not essential,” he said, “although I appreciate some people might find it essential.”

You hear that Kelly?

He also notified our local Corona virus hot spot as Byron Bay, which justifies the ticketing of surfers from that area who might consider themselves local.

I don’t know, that one might not stack up in court.

When offered a chance to address Kelly and Leo directly Detective Lindsay was, ah, forthright.

“Consider if that travel is essential. Chasing better surf is not essential. Consider local surfers in that area by complying with the direction. We don’t want it to end up like in America or Europe where Kelly and Leo are from with closed beaches. You’d expect they would be setting an example as leaders.”

Whoa, Kelly on the wrong side of the law.

How do you see him now?

Hero or villain?

I would like a bob each way.

I’m very proud of our top cop and the way they are managing this, as are most local crew, but can’t help feeling a little frisson of excitement at Kelly sticking it to the man.

Kelly if you do end up with a notice to appear in court I will appear as a character witness and/or legal adviser gratis.

I have a novel legal defence in mind.

In the meantime, a lower profile may be in your best interests.

You’re welcome.

Watch: World Surf League reaches rare peak hypocrisy in celebrating dangerous wipeout while encouraging safe social distancing!

"Please consult your local COVID-19 rules and regulations in regards to surfing."

Oh my goodness. And oh my very goodness the World Surf League, under the soft hand of relatively new Chief Executive Officer Erik Logan, has reached the oft attempted but rarely achieved peak hypocrisy of this modern age.

An ultimate win-win but shall we, as students of the game, celebrate ourselves?

Laud appropriately?

It would be historically rude not to and let us travel directly to Instagram where the World Surf League lays its scene.

For it is there that Koa Rothman, son of Eddie, brother of Makua turned and went on a decidedly dangerous bomb.

The results were epically watchable yet potentially devastating.

Thankfully, the WSL chased a bold punch with a spineless warning.

Please consult your local COVID-19 rules and regulations in regards to surfing. At the moment, surfing is still permitted on Oahu.



Please consult rules etc.?

Damned Vichy collaborators.

Jackboot apologists.

World Surf League.

But now that the World Surf League is an officially fabulous surf blog the game is, also, officially on.

I will see your head on a spike at the end of this, Erik Logan, and won’t pull the “Please consult…” punch.

More as the story develops.

Professor Slater as pictured by the @sensitiveseashellcollector
Professor Slater as pictured by the @sensitiveseashellcollector

Kelly Slater asks: “Do you think we have disrespected the earth enough or can we keep going?”

How shall we live?

Isolation makes philosophers out of us all. Minds, freed from “work” and “money” allowed to roam free. To think “outside the box” without any buzz-kills within six feet to criticize our flights of fancy.

And Kelly Slater, there in the Thinkers Paradise, on Australia’s Gold Coast, just posed an interesting question as it relates to the current Coronavirus pandemic.

“Do you think we have used and disrespected the earth enough or can we keep going at the rate we have become accustomed to?”

Thought provoking, no?

Since he asked, I think we all probably have used and disrespected the earth enough BUT he didn’t ask should we keep going. He asked can we and I, for one, think surfers can muster the will for more machine generated waves, Breitling Superocean watches retailing for around $7k with a nylon strap, FCS H4 fins that enjoy falling out of lightly glassed high performance shortboards and planting themselves into delicate reefs, SharkBanz that don’t work and get thrown into landfills along with their lithium ion batteries etc.

In short, consumption, BUT is all consumption the same? And let us re-ponder Kelly Slater’s Aristotle-esque question “How should we live?” as answered by the great Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard, bridging the aesthetic with the ethical through faith.

i.e. only surfing machine generated waves somewhere fabulous like Palm Springs, going Rolex, if $7k is in the watch budget, and insisting on a stainless steel strap never touching damned nylon which always gets stinky, using Futures and forgetting SharkBanz altogether, believing that the mighty Great White isn’t bothered by tiny electrical pulses.


Or did I misunderstand?

Breaking: World Surf League completes transition from governing body of sport to absolutely fabulous surf blog!

Oh, darling!

There was, if you can recall, a time before the Coronavirus where human beings touched, school classrooms were filled with laughing children and newly appointed World Surf League CEO Erik Logan unveiled his grand plan for the future of our favorite pastime.

The WSL would no longer simply be a governing body, hosting an international tour and crowning the world’s best male and female surfer at the end of the year. It would, rather, become a “content and media company.”

How that would be, specifically, was both exciting but unclear. It would involve a reality-style network television show, robust TikTok account, “user generated” content, Kelly Slater, Chris Cotê and mounds upon mounds of positivity but… how would it look?

Well, in this time after the Coronavirus where surfers are locked in their homes and school classrooms sit empty, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan has completed a dramatic make-over and shall we go and see the new and improved product?


We’ve got content sharing with The Inertia, a Stab-esque layout, the world’s number 1 surf podcast as header, listicles, upbeat “stay at home” messaging and ooooee!

A surf blog, an absolutely fabulous surf blog, and I only have a few small questions.

When Dirk Ziff opened his wallet, those handful of years ago, and purchased the Association of Surfing Professionals for free but then spilled a few tens of millions later is he pleased beyond pleased that this is the end result?

An absolutely fabulous surf blog?

Old WSL vs New WSL!
Old WSL vs New WSL!

I guess that’s really my only question.

When reached for comment, CEO Erik Logan said, “When look back over the past 11 months or so, the work the team has done to create all of these other franchises that we have on our platforms, like Sound Waves and Brilliant Corners and these other series we put on in-between events, in addition to the things we’ve done off-platform whether that’s 24/7: Kelly Slater [with HBO Sports], Ultimate Surfer, and the other things we have in the pipe, what we’ve seen is that the success rate, the consumption, and the use of the platforms really have all grown exponentially, and it gives us great confidence to double down in that space.”


Question: Should the surf industry simply invoice China for damages once the Coronavirus Catastrophe has run its course?

Problem solved!

But how poor has this Coronavirus Apocalypse made you and whom do you blame? City officials frothing with newfound powers, closing businesses, parks, beaches, etc. just because they can? State officials making obscene plays for the presidencies and prime ministerships? Presidents and Prime Ministers frozen by fear or China, where this novel disease was first synthesized and released out into the world?

The surf industry, made even poorer than you and I, might never fully recover from this blow. Dirk Ziff, owner of professional surfing and co-Waterperson of the Year, could easily pack his remaining pennies and skulk off. Erik Logan, professional surfing’s chief executive, could continue his dream of becoming Instagram famous. Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Volcom could shut doors and congratulate themselves on a few fun decades. Board builders could go back to doing it part-time alongside long haul trucking.

Well, what if that same surf industry got progressive, like the Germany’s largest newspaper Bild and simply invoiced China for damages?

Shall we learn?

On Wednesday in an article titled “What China owes us,” the newspaper created an itemized invoice of damages from the pandemic. The items on the list included €24 billion in lost tourism revenue from March to April, €7.2 billion in losses for the German film industry, €1 million per hour in costs for Lufthansa, and €50 billion in lost profits for German small businesses.

The total losses came to a total of €149 billion, which the newspaper estimated caused a 4.2 percent drop in Germany’s GDP. It said that such a drop would amount to a loss of €1,784 per person.

That same day, the Chinese Embassy in Berlin responded by claiming that the estimate of damages printed in the newspaper “stirs up nationalism, prejudice, xenophobia, and hostility to China.”

How did editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt respond?

In a searing open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Very fine, inspired, and if Germany’s bill equals €149 billion what do you think the surf industry is owed?

€149 and seven bars of Sticky Bumps wax?

€1490 and a promise from Fernando Aguerre to apologize for all his “Olympic” antics?

€14,900 and an artistically powerful piece of artwork featuring Dirk Ziff kissing Harv Weinstein?

€149,000 and enough Hurley skin toner to keep Erik Logan looking sharp all year?

Other ideas?